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Blackwood v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


March 23, 2009

CISLYN BLACKWOOD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SUN LIFE ASSURANCE COMPANY OF CANADA, SUN LIFE FINANCIAL, COMMUNITY HOSPITALS OF CENTRAL CALIFORNIA DBA COMMUNITY MEDICAL CENTERS EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLAN AND DOES 1-10, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Anthony W. Ishii Chief United States District Judge

STIPULATION FOR TRIAL ON THE ADMINISTRATIVE RECORD AND ORDER THEREON

The parties, by counsel, stipulate and agree to the trial of the above captioned case on trial briefs on the administrative record.

Plaintiff filed her Complaint under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. §1001 et seq. (hereafter "ERISA"), seeking recovery of long term disability benefits. The parties agree that the most cost effective and expedient manner for resolution of the dispute is to submit the case for decision after the filing of trial briefs on the administrative record. The parties' agreed procedure in this de novo review ERISA is consistent with the suggested procedure in Kearney v. Standard Ins. Co., 175 F.3d 1084 (9th Cir. 1999). Submission and decision of ERISA cases on the trial briefs and administrative record is the preferred method in some other circuits, including the Sixth Circuit. See Wilkins v. Baptist Healthcare System, Inc., 150 F.3d 609 (6th Cir. 1998).

The parties have agreed to the following briefing schedule:

1. Plaintiff's opening brief and the full administrative record as augmented will be filed by March 30, 2009.

2. Defendants' response brief will be filed by April 20, 2009.

3. Any reply brief will be filed by April 26, 2009.

The parties will argue their positions at the trial on April 28, 2009, but they will not present or offer any further evidence or testimony at the trial. The parties also propose vacating the final pre-trial conference of April 2, 2009 in light of the stipulation to submit the case for trial on the briefs.

WHEREFORE, the parties request the Court's approval of the procedure and schedule set forth in this Stipulation, vacation of the April 2, 2009 final pre-trial conference, and for all other just and proper relief.

Dated: March 23, 2009

JACOBSON, HANSEN, NAJARIAN & MCQUILLAN

Steven Michael McQuillan Attorney for Plaintiff, CISLYN BLACKWOOD

OGLETREE, DEAKINS, NASH, SMOAK & STEWART, P.C.

Eric Mathisen Attorney for Defendant, SUN LIFE ASSURANCE COMPANY OF CANADA and COMMUNITY HOSPITALS OF CENTRAL CALIFORNIA dba COMMUNITY MEDICAL CENTERS EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLAN

ORDER

The court hereby ADOPTS and APPROVES the stipulation of the parties to conduct the trial in the instant case on the administrative record as amended. The court also ADOPTS and APPROVES the stipulated schedule for the submission of trial briefs, objections, and replies. The parties are hereby advised that they will be requested to submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law following the conclusion of the trial.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20090323

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